The Saco police chief and a deputy chief were placed on paid administrative leave Friday and city officials plan to hire a third-party investigator.

City Administrator Kevin Sutherland notified police department employees of the decision in an internal memo that was obtained by NewsCenter Maine (WCSH/WLBZ). Sutherland did not tell employees why Chief Raynald Demers and Deputy Chief Corey Huntress were placed on leave.

Deputy Chief Jack Clements is serving as acting chief, said Mayor Marston Lovell. Lovell said he could not comment on the reason Demers and Huntress were placed on leave because it is a personnel matter.

The City Council is scheduled to meet in executive session on March 25 to discuss the situation, Lovell said.

Sutherland could not be reached for comment Saturday.

In the memo to employees, Sutherland said he met with members of the department to discuss “departmental communication issues and was going to bring in a third party consultant to provide an assessment.” Sutherland decided to place Demers and Huntress on leave after receiving additional information, according to the memo.

Sutherland also said in the memo that he is working with the city attorney to assign a third-party investigator who will be available to talk to employees about their concerns.

Demers was appointed police chief in December 2016 after the previous chief retired. Demers had been deputy chief of operations for the previous six years and has worked for the city for more than 30 years.

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